b.g. thomas

silk weed baby

i gave birth in the popping cattails
on the swampy ledge in the back yard/         silken tufts peeling
from their soft brown casing/              releasing encased  seeds
to the wind/                                                          inside
mother bellowing about the river/                gargling up
every spring/       and pouring through the basement
vocalizing/           but never letting the men in to fix it
her voice bracketing the tree line

i close my eyes laying my head back/         into the cool green water
floating with leaves and small yellow flowers
        build a bridge/      you can’t stop what you can’t stop
sticky sweet pea vines wrapping around legs
and arms/                                                    letting the sun scorch eyelids red
peepers presenting themselves/                  hopping over my body
small white butterflies brushing my skin/  with their silk wings

i am baptizing myself/                                  pushing
hallowing out a milkweed pod/                   wrapping birth matter
in the cotton chaffs that live in the pod
sucking the thin cream marrow from the thorned stems
water wrapping around my waist/               breathing burns the lungs

inside the house/           the fury and the hate escape into open air
windows/             beckoning bruises
whispering up into the floating dandelion seeds/
falling like pieces of the sky
like wishes/              how far to travel to escape

or understand the enormity of what was lost

only knowing that the stain/                     of your breath on my skin
will litter me always
long after you are gone/ still/                   shiver to feel
buttons touching skin/
or worms rising up from beneath
curling in our hand like wet sponges/                  still soft still
the tense of muscle inside the flesh of them
retching and gagging again/                      broken

like the base of the house with the spring moon tide lagging through it
she doesn’t let them in
she doesn’t’ trust them/                          they did this
setting the milkweed baby to sail

like moses in a boat made of reeds


remembering eddy

i remember your bike/     purring between my thighs
never could decide/
which i liked more/            you or that bike
you/               leaning way back/              tall bars
and low muffler
me sitting high on my perch/     that was mine
that no other could ever claim
even long after our parting/
tendering to separate ways
i don’t wear jeans anymore
jeans and me/         belong to you and that bike
caught in a moment/        you and i
realizing who we really were
how innocent hearts couldn’t conceive
my brown skin/      your call to the aryan pledge
blue eyes/                 fluid-filled/   blinking in recognition
too strong to release
brown skin of stomach/   white thigh
wrapping yourself around me one last time
        roads we choose/               i whisper
hoping we never again cross paths



starlings’ frantic songs linger
        on quiet night wind/                     small gurgling’s
echo a song of pending day
there is no escape from the hurt/          they chirp softly
        into the low moonlight
        spilling over the hilltop

just over that rise is the cemetery
ghost-lit by small solar posts                   casting pale spell
across the white-crossed crest               but not his
his lies nestled in the corner nook
by the edge of the wood             where strange white birds
took flight                                         that day in april
when the ground caved open
and welcomed him home

two dogs  watch/                           one white  one spotted
        from the discarded weathered couch
stretching/     sniffing and pawing at the soft ground
for bits of bacon treats tossed from the open window
where the big yellow cat/                       scats in quiet staccato burts
        trying to speak the language
of the starlings/                                          who churn bright songs
        as they dart from the utility pole to the edge of the roof
listen uwibtha/                     they cry
the heart needs time to heal/                 head tilted
bird gaze on my  hands filled with seeds and small nuts
        a guilted gift to feathered guardian
        keepers of this scared space
fit yourself back inside my chest
i plead                       so that my heart may go on beating
soft words placed on warm wind
        a hope/            a wish  displaced
        to know some things cannot be undone
yet the need of air to lung depends upon this condition
or so it seems/                    the starlings circle song in somber hues
nestling on the roof above
rustling straw trigs gathered from the dry grass at his grave
the child of mine                            no longer mine



b.g. thomas currently resides in Macy, Nebraska. thomas is an artist and writer with an MFA in Studio Art from Moore College of Art and Design and is currently an MFA candidate for Creative Writing at Arcadia University. thomas’ work has appeared in Fish Food, GNU, The Warren, Dryland, Sliver of Stone and Heavy Feather Review as well as several anthologies. Currently thomas is an adjunct art and creative writing professor at Nebraska Indian Community College and a theatre and alt education instructor at Omaha Nation Public School.